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Giving disease the boot

Firefighters say generosity abounds despite dour economy

Posted: May 15, 2009 8:55 p.m.
Updated: May 16, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Local firefighter helps collect $1,400 in donations as part of the fill-the-boot campaign.

Los Angeles County firefighters will be out on two of the Santa Clarita Valley’s major intersections today collecting donations for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

The Fill-the-Boot campaign — so named because the firefighters ask drivers to drop money into a firefighter’s boot — began Thursday and ends today at noon.

Los Angeles County firefighters in the Santa Clarita Valley collected about $1,400 on Thursday, organizers said.
Fire Capt. Mark Whaling said he was impressed.

“Generosity has nothing to do with the economy,” he said, adding that a man who was earlier collecting cans stopped by to contribute some change.

“They always find a way to give.”

Firefighters will set up at the intersection of Soledad Canyon Road and Sierra Highway and at the crossing of Bouquet Canyon Road and Valencia Boulevard. They’ll be there from 9 a.m. to noon.

The county fire department has raised more than $1.5 million for the MDA since 2003. Muscular dystrophy refers to a group of more than 30 genetic diseases that weaken and degenerate muscles. Patients can lose the ability to move or even breathe without assistance.

When the traffic light turned red Friday at the Canyon Country intersection, firefighter Michael Peterson dashed into the street with a jingling rubber boot to collect cash and coins from stopped drivers.

An occasional Santa Claritan would walk up to thank him and hand him a bill or two.

John Kincade, 60, of Valencia was one of them.

“Not only are they heroes, saving our lives when the winds come up, but they do this kind of stuff,” said Kincade. “It’s amazing.”

After Kincade walked away, Peterson went running after him to shake his hand.

“This guy put in $20!” he said with a grin.



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